Olivia de Havilland

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Olivia de Havilland
Studio publicity photo of Olivia de Havilland
Studio publicity photo, 1938
Born Olivia Mary de Havilland
(1916-07-01) July 1, 1916 (age 99)
Tokyo, Japan
Residence Paris, France
Occupation Actress
Years active 1935–2009
  • Marcus Goodrich (m. 1946; div. 1953)
  • Pierre Galante (m. 1955; div. 1979)
  • Benjamin Goodrich (1949–91)
  • Gisèle Galante (b. 1956)
Relatives Joan Fontaine (sister, 1917–2013)
Awards See below
Olivia de Havilland Signature.png

Olivia Mary de Havilland (born July 1, 1916) is a British-American actress known for her early ingenue roles, as well as her later more substantial roles.[1] Born in Tokyo to English parents, de Havilland and her younger sister, actress Joan Fontaine, moved to California in 1919. She performed as Melanie Hamilton in Gone with the Wind (1939) and in eight co-starring roles opposite Errol Flynn, including Captain Blood (1935), The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), Dodge City (1939), Santa Fe Trail (1940), and They Died with Their Boots On (1941). At the age of 99, de Havilland is the oldest living actor who has won an Academy Award. She is the last surviving major actor from Gone with the Wind and is among the last living actors from the Golden Age of Hollywood.

De Havilland won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performances in To Each His Own (1946) and The Heiress (1949); de Havilland and sister Fontaine are the only siblings to have won lead acting Academy Awards. She also received the National Board of Review Award, the New York Film Critics Circle Award, the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists Silver Ribbon, and the Venice Film Festival Volpi Cup for her performance in The Snake Pit (1948). She was awarded the Golden Globe Award for her performance in The Heiress in 1950 and for Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna in 1987. In 1960, she was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her work in films. In 2008, she was presented with the National Medal of Arts by President George W. Bush.

Early life[edit]

Olivia de Havilland was born on July 1, 1916, in Tokyo, Japan, to parents from England.[2] Her father, Walter Augustus de Havilland (August 31, 1872 – May 23, 1968), was educated at the University of Cambridge and served as an English professor at the Imperial University in Tokyo before becoming a patent attorney with a practice in Japan.[2] Her mother, Lillian Augusta (née Ruse; June 11, 1886 – February 20, 1975),[3] was educated at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and became a stage actress.[2] She also sang with the Master of the King's Music, Sir Walter Parratt, and toured England with composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, illustrating his music.[4] The de Havilland family heritage included one ancestor who fought with William the Conqueror in the eleventh century, and another who accompanied King Richard I to Palistine in 1190 to fight in the Third Crusade.[5] Olivia's paternal cousin was Sir Geoffrey de Havilland (1882–1965), an aircraft designer, notably of the de Havilland Mosquito,[6] and founder of the de Havilland aircraft company. Her paternal grandfather, the Reverend Charles Richard de Havilland, was from a family from Guernsey, in the Channel Islands.[7][8]

Publicity photo of Olivia de Havilland for the stage production of Alice in Wonderland
Olivia de Havilland in the stage play Alice in Wonderland, 1933

In 1913, Lillian and Walter met in Japan while she was visiting her brother; the following year the couple were married in New York City on November 30, 1914.[9] On their return to Japan, they moved into a large house in an exclusive residential section of Tokyo,[9] where Lillian gave informal singing recitals for the European colony.[9] The marriage was not a happy one due in part to her father's infidelities.[10] Her younger sister, Joan de Havilland (later known as actress Joan Fontaine), was born on October 22, 1917. In February 1919, Lillian persuaded her husband to take the family back to England to a climate better suited for their ailing daughters.[10] The family stopped in California to treat Olivia's bronchial condition and high temperature. After Joan developed pneumonia, Lillian decided to remain with her daughters in California, where they settled in the village of Saratoga, about 50 miles (80 km) south of San Francisco. Her father abandoned the family and returned to his Japanese housekeeper, who would eventually become his second wife.[10] Her parents' divorce was not finalized until February 1925.[11]

Although she left the acting profession, Lillian taught her daughters to appreciate the arts, reading Shakespeare to her children.[Note 1] She also taught them music and elocution.[12] In April 1925, after her divorce was finalized, Lillian remarried, this time to a department store owner named George M. Fontaine, whose strict parenting soon generated animosity in his new stepdaughters. Only a year apart, the sisters became lifelong rivals.[13]

De Havilland was educated at Saratoga Grammar School, the Notre Dame Convent in Belmont, and Los Gatos High School.[14][15][Note 2] In high school, she excelled in oratory and field hockey and participated in the school drama club.[16] In 1933, she made her debut in amateur theatre in the lead role in Alice in Wonderland, a production of the Saratoga Community Players based on the work of Lewis Carroll.[16] She would later remember:

For the first time I had the magic experience of feeling possessed by the character I was playing. I really felt I was Alice and that when I moved across the stage, I was actually moving in Alice's enchanted wonderland. And so for the first time I felt not only pleasure in acting but love for acting as well.[16]

After graduating high school in 1934, de Havilland was offered the role of Puck in the Saratoga Community Theater production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.[16] That summer, Austrian director Max Reinhardt came to California for a major new production of the same play at the Hollywood Bowl. After one of Reinhardt's assistants saw Olivia perform in the Saratoga production, he offered her the understudy position for the role of Hermia.[17] One week before the premiere, the actress playing Hermia left to take a part in a film, and de Havilland took her place. After receiving positive reviews, she went on to play Hermia through the entire engagement, as well as the four-week tour that followed.[17] During the tour, Reinhardt received word that he would direct the Warner Bros. film version of his stage production, and he offered de Havilland the film role of Hermia. Wanting to become an English teacher,[17] she was going to matriculate at Mills College with a scholarship in the fall but Reinhardt persuaded her to accept. Soon after, the 18-year-old actress signed a seven-year contract with Warner Bros.[18]


Olivia de Havilland publicity photo, 1937

Olivia de Havilland made her screen debut in Max Reinhardt's film A Midsummer Night's Dream, which was released in October 1935, following the release of her second and third films, Alibi Ike with Joe E. Brown and The Irish in Us with James Cagney, respectively.[18][19] All three films received mixed reviews and disappointing public response.[18] At this point, Warner Bros. made a decision that would have a profound impact on her career, pairing her with an unknown Tasmanian actor named Errol Flynn in Captain Blood (1935). The casting of de Havilland was due to producer Hal B. Wallis wanting to showcase his "protege".[20] The popular success of the film, as well as the critical response to the on-screen couple,[21] led to seven additional collaborations, including The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936), The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), Dodge City (1939), Santa Fe Trail (1940), and They Died with Their Boots On (1941).[21]

Studio publicity portrait for Gone With the Wind, 1939

Throughout the late 1930s, de Havilland appeared in a variety of light romantic comedy films, including Call It a Day (1937), Four's a Crowd (1938), and Hard to Get (1938), as well as period films such as Anthony Adverse (1936) and The Great Garrick (1937). Her refined demeanor and beautiful diction made her particularly effective in the latter films.[22] While her performances were generally well received by critics and the public, they did not advance her career toward the more serious roles she desired.[22] One such role was the character of Melanie Hamilton in David O. Selznick's upcoming film adaptation of Margaret Mitchell's epic novel Gone with the Wind. Having read the novel, de Havilland knew she could bring the character to life on the screen. According to some sources, her sister Joan Fontaine was approached by director George Cukor to audition for the role. Interested more in playing Scarlett O'Hara, Fontaine reportedly turned him down, recommending her sister.[22] Ultimately, Jack L. Warner's wife Ann was instrumental in de Havilland getting the part.[23] She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance.[24]

Olivia de Havilland and Errol Flynn in Santa Fe Trail, 1940

Following the critical acclaim she received for her performance in Gone with the Wind, de Havilland sought more serious and challenging roles, but was not supported in her efforts by Warner Bros. After receiving third billing in The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939) starring Bette Davis and Errol Flynn, she was loaned out to Samuel Goldwyn for the crime drama Raffles (1939), and then assigned to the light musical comedy My Love Came Back (1940).[25] Throughout the early 1940s, de Havilland was becoming increasingly frustrated by the roles assigned to her, which she felt were unchallenging and insubstantial.[25][26] Feeling she had proven herself capable of playing more than the demure ingénues and damsels in distress that were typecasting her, she began to reject scripts that offered her this type of role and actively sought out better roles. She concluded her long series of popular films with Errol Flynn with Santa Fe Trail (1940) and They Died with Their Boots On (1941), which contained some of their most telling scenes together.[25] Other highlights from this period include The Strawberry Blonde (1941) with James Cagney, Hold Back the Dawn (1941) with Charles Boyer for which she received fine reviews, and Princess O'Rourke (1943), which she considered one of the few truly satisfying characters she played for Warner Bros.[27][Note 3] In 1942, de Havilland received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for her performance in Hold Back the Dawn.

Studio publicity portrait for Santa Fe Trail, 1940

After fulfilling her seven-year Warner Bros. contract with The Male Animal (1942), In This Our Life (1942), Government Girl (1944), and Devotion (1946), her last Warner Bros. film completed in 1943 and released in 1946, de Havilland was informed that six months had been added to her contract for times she had been on suspension.[29] The law then allowed studios to suspend contract players for rejecting a role, and the period of suspension could be added to the contract period. Most contract players accepted this, but a few tried to change the system, including Bette Davis who mounted an unsuccessful lawsuit against Warner Bros. in the 1930s. In August 1943, on the advice of her lawyer, de Havilland took Warner Bros. to court and was supported by the Screen Actors Guild.[30] In 1944, the California Court of Appeals for the Second District – an intermediate appellate court in the state – ruled in her favor.[31] The decision was one of the most significant and far-reaching legal rulings in Hollywood, reducing the power of the studios and extending greater creative freedom to performers. California's resulting "seven-year rule", also known as Labor Code Section 2855, is still known today as the De Havilland Law.[32] Her legal victory won de Havilland the respect and admiration of her peers, among them her own sister Joan Fontaine, who later commented, "Hollywood owes Olivia a great deal".[33] Warner Bros. reacted to the decision by circulating a letter to other studios that had the effect of a "virtual blacklisting".[30] As a consequence, de Havilland did not work in a film studio for two years.[30]

Olivia de Havilland in Devotion, 1946

Following the release of Devotion—a highly fictionalized biography of the Brontë sisters filmed in 1943 but withheld from release during the suspension and litigation—de Havilland signed a three picture deal with Paramount Pictures. The quality and variety of her roles began to improve. In his review of The Dark Mirror (1946), James Agee noted the change, writing that although she had always been "one of the prettiest women in movies", her recent performances had proven her acting ability. He also noted that while not possessing "any remarkable talent", her performances are "thoughtful, quiet, detailed, and well sustained". Agee concluded that her acting is "founded, as some more talented playing is not, in an unusually healthful-seeming and likable temperament, it is an undivided pleasure to see".[34] De Havilland received the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performances in To Each His Own (1946) and The Heiress (1949), and was also widely praised for her Academy Award–nominated performance in The Snake Pit (1948), one of the earliest films to attempt a realistic portrayal of mental illness and an "historically important Hollywood exposé of the grim conditions in state mental hospitals".[35] De Havilland was lauded for her willingness to play a role that was completely devoid of glamour and that confronted such controversial subject matter. She won the New York Film Critics Award for both The Snake Pit and The Heiress.

Publicity photo of Olivia de Havilland, 1952
Olivia de Havilland publicity photo, 1952

After becoming a naturalized citizen of the United States on November 28, 1941,[36][37] de Havilland became involved in politics as a way of exercising her civic responsibilities. She campaigned for Franklin D. Roosevelt's re-election in 1944 and traveled overseas to support the American troops.[38] After the war, she joined the Independent Citizens' Committee of the Arts, Sciences and Professions, a national public policy advocacy group that included Bette Davis, Gregory Peck, and Humphrey Bogart in its Hollywood chapter. In June, 1946, she was asked to deliver speeches for the committee that reflected the Communist Party line (the group was later identified as a communist front organization).[39] Disturbed by the reports of Stalinist atrocities and how a small group of Communist members were manipulating the committee, de Havilland removed the pro-Communist material from her speeches and rewrote them to reflect Harry S. Truman's anti-Communist program.[38] She later recalled, "I realized a nucleus of people was controlling the organization without a majority of the members of the board being aware of it. And I knew they had to be Communists."[38] She organized a fight to regain control of the committee from its pro-Soviet leadership, but her reform efforts failed. Her resignation from the committee triggered a wave of resignations from other Hollywood figures, including her own star recruit to the reform camp, the future President Ronald Reagan, whose political trajectory after 1952 would be far more dramatic.[38] Despite galvanising Hollywood resistance to Soviet influence, de Havilland was denounced that same year—along with Danny Kaye, Fredric March, and Edward G. Robinson—as a "swimming-pool pink" in Time magazine for her involvement in the committee.[40] In 1958, she was secretly called before the House Un-American Activities Committee and recounted her experiences with the Independent Citizens' Committee.[38]

Olivia de Havilland and Rossano Brazzi in Light in the Piazza, 1962

In the 1950s, de Havilland made fewer films in order to raise her two children. She declined the role of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire, later explaining: "I had just given birth to my son. That was a transforming experience, and when the script was presented to me, I couldn't relate to it."[38] The role went to her Gone with the Wind co-star, Vivien Leigh, who won her second Academy Award for her performance.[41] During the decade, de Havilland starred in six films, including My Cousin Rachel (1952), with Richard Burton, for which she earned a Golden Globe nomination, That Lady (1955), Not as a Stranger (1955) with Robert Mitchum and Frank Sinatra, The Ambassador's Daughter (1956) with John Forsythe, The Proud Rebel (1958), and Libel (1959) with Dirk Bogarde.

Of her few film appearances in the 1960s, chiefly notable are de Havilland's role in Lady in a Cage (1964) as a crippled widow trapped in a lift and terrorised by intruders, Robert Aldrich's Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte, and Sam Peckinpah's TV film of Katherine Anne Porter's novella Noon Wine (1966). In 1965, de Havilland was the first woman to preside over a Cannes jury. She was the subject of This Is Your Life in April, 1964 when she was surprised by Eamonn Andrews in central London.

She continued acting in films until the late 1970s, afterward continuing her career on television until the late 1980s, highlighted by her Golden Globe win and Emmy Award nomination for her performance as the Dowager Empress Maria in the 1986 miniseries Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna.

Personal life[edit]


Olivia de Havilland and Errol Flynn in The Adventures of Robin Hood, 1938

Although known as one of Hollywood's most exciting on-screen couples—having appeared in eight films together—de Havilland and Errol Flynn were never linked romantically. The eight films in which they co-starred are Captain Blood (1935), The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936), The Adventures of Robin Hood and Four's a Crowd (1938), Dodge City and The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939), Santa Fe Trail (1940) and They Died with Their Boots On (1941). Of her feelings for her co-star, de Havilland once observed:

He never guessed I had a crush on him. And it didn't get better either. In fact, I read in something that he wrote that he was in love with me when we made The Charge of the Light Brigade the next year, in 1936. I was amazed to read that, for it never occurred to me that he was smitten with me, too, even though we did all those pictures together.[42]

In another interview, however, de Havilland claimed she knew the crush was reciprocal and stated that Flynn proposed, though de Havilland turned down the proposal as Flynn was still married to actress Lili Damita at the time.[43] From December 1939 to March 1942, she was romantically involved with single actor James Stewart. At the request of Irene Mayer Selznick, the actor's agent asked Stewart to escort de Havilland to the New York premiere of Gone with the Wind at the Astor Theater on December 19, 1939. Over the next few days, Stewart took her to the theater several times and to the 21 Club.[44] They continued to see each other back in Los Angeles, where Stewart provided occasional flying lessons and romance. According to de Havilland, Stewart in fact proposed marriage to her in 1940, but she felt that he was not ready to settle down.[44] Their relationship was interrupted by Stewart's military enlistment in March 1941, but would continue on and off until March 1942, when de Havilland fell in love with director John Huston.[45]

The Mexican film director Emilio Fernandez was deeply in love with de Havilland, whom he never met. Fernandez asked the then president of Mexico Miguel Aleman to prolong a street in Coyoacán, in Mexico City to his mansion to then name it Sweet Olivia.[46]

Marriages and children[edit]

Olivia de Havilland with her son Benjamin, c. 1952

Olivia de Havilland was married twice. On August 26, 1946, she married Marcus Goodrich, a Navy veteran, author, and screenwriter.[47] They had one child, Benjamin Goodrich, who was born on December 1, 1949.[48] The marriage ended in divorce in 1953.[49] Their son Benjamin died on October 1, 1991 (aged 41) of Hodgkin's lymphoma, three weeks before the death of his father.[50][51]

On April 2, 1955, de Havilland married Pierre Galante, a journalist and editor of Paris Match.[52] They had one child, Gisèle Galante, who was born on July 18, 1956.[52] Her marriage to Galante prompted de Havilland to move to Paris. She recounted her attempts at adjusting to Parisian life in her memoir, Every Frenchman Has One.[52] The couple separated in 1962,[52] but did not divorce until 1979.[53]

Close friendships[edit]

De Havilland was lifelong best friends with Bette Davis with whom she starred in Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964), The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939), It's Love I'm After (1937), and In This Our Life (1942). She remained a close friend of actress Gloria Stuart until Stuart's death in 2010, at the age of 100. In April 2008, she attended the Los Angeles funeral of Charlton Heston. In 2008, she was a surprise guest at the centennial tribute to Bette Davis.[54]

Sibling rivalry[edit]

Olivia de Havilland and her sister, Joan Fontaine, are the only siblings to have won lead acting Academy Awards. Of the two sisters, de Havilland was the first to become an actress. When Fontaine tried to follow her lead, their mother, who allegedly favoured de Havilland, refused to let her use the family name professionally. According to biographer Charles Higham, the sisters always had an uneasy relationship, starting in early childhood when de Havilland would rip up the clothes Fontaine had to wear as hand-me-downs, forcing Fontaine to sew them back together. A large part of the resentment between the sisters allegedly stemmed from Fontaine's belief that de Havilland was their mother's favorite child.[55]

Joan Fontaine and Gary Cooper at the Academy Awards, 1942

De Havilland and Fontaine were both nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress in 1942. Fontaine won that year for her role in Alfred Hitchcock's Suspicion over de Havilland's performance in Hold Back the Dawn. According to Higham, as Fontaine stepped forward to receive her award, she pointedly rejected de Havilland's attempts at congratulating her, and that de Havilland was both offended and embarrassed by her behavior. Their relationship was further strained when Fontaine made negative comments to an interviewer about de Havilland's husband. Fontaine, however, tells a different story in her autobiography, explaining that she was paralyzed with surprise when she won the Academy Award, and that de Havilland insisted she get up to accept it. "Olivia took the situation very graciously," Fontaine wrote. "I was appalled that I'd won over my sister."[56] Several years later, when de Havilland stepped up to accept her Academy Award for Best Actress, she brushed past Fontaine, who was waiting with her hand extended.[55] The relationship between the sisters continued to deteriorate, and may have caused the estrangement between Fontaine and her own daughters, who secretly maintained a relationship with de Havilland.[55] For years, both sisters refused to comment publicly about their relationship.

Contrary to press reports, the sisters continued their relationship after the 1940s. After Fontaine's separation from her husband in 1952, de Havilland came to her apartment in New York often, and at least once spent Christmas together there, in 1961. They were photographed laughing together at a party for Marlene Dietrich in 1967.[57] Joan also went to visit Olivia in Paris in 1969.[58]

The final break between the sisters occurred in 1975. According to Fontaine, they stopped speaking because of a disagreement over their mother's cancer treatment. While de Havilland wanted their mother to be treated surgically, Fontaine opposed surgery due to their mother's advanced age. Fontaine also claimed that after their mother died, de Havilland did not make an effort to notify Fontaine, who was touring with a play at the time. Instead, de Havilland sent a telegram, which did not reach her sister until two weeks later at Fontaine's next engagement.[59]

The sibling feud ended with Fontaine's death in December 2013. Determined to have the last word on the matter, Fontaine once noted, "I married first, won the Oscar before Olivia did, and if I die first, she'll undoubtedly be livid because I beat her to it!"[60] Following her sister's death, de Havilland released a statement saying she was "shocked and saddened" by the news.[61]

De Havilland today[edit]

Olivia de Havilland receiving the National Medal of Arts from President Bush, 2008

According to her book, de Havilland has been living in Paris since 1960. In recent years, she has made only rare public appearances. In 2003, she appeared as a presenter at the 75th Annual Academy Awards, receiving a four-minute-long standing ovation upon her entrance. In June 2006, she made appearances at tributes for her 90th birthday at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. In 2004, Turner Classic Movies produced a retrospective piece called Melanie Remembers in which de Havilland was interviewed for the 65th anniversary of the original release of Gone with the Wind. She remembered details of her casting and filming. The 40-minute documentary is included in the film's four-disc special collector's edition.

On November 17, 2008, at the age of 92, de Havilland received the National Medal of Arts, the highest honor conferred to an individual artist on behalf of the people of the United States. The medal was presented to her by President George W. Bush "for her persuasive and compelling skill as an actress in roles from Shakespeare's Hermia to Margaret Mitchell's Melanie. Her independence, integrity, and grace won creative freedom for herself and her fellow film actors."[62][63]

In 2009, de Havilland narrated the documentary I Remember Better When I Paint,[64] a film about the importance of art in the treatment of Alzheimer's.[65] On March 22, 2011, she presented the film at a special screening in Paris.[66]

On September 9, 2010, de Havilland was appointed a chevalier (or knight) of the Légion d'honneur, the highest decoration in France, awarded by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who told the 94-year-old actress, "You honor France for having chosen us."[67]

In February 2011, de Havilland appeared at the César Awards in France. The president of the ceremony, Jodie Foster, introduced her, and de Havilland received a standing ovation.[68] In an interview from January 2015, De Havilland stated that she is working on her autobiography.[69]

In February 2016, de Havilland was named "Oldie of the Year" by the satirical magazine The Oldie. The 99-year-old was unable to travel from her home in France to receive the award in person at a ceremony in London, but in a recorded message she said she was "utterly delighted" the judges deemed there was "sufficient snap in my celery" to win the accolade.[70]

Honors and awards[edit]

Star on the Walk of Fame for Motion Picture, at 6762 Hollywood Blvd.[71]
  • 1939 Academy Award Nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Gone with the Wind)[72]
  • 1941 New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress (Hold Back the Dawn) 2nd Place
  • 1941 Academy Award Nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Hold Back the Dawn)[72]
  • 1946 New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress (To Each His Own) 2nd Place
  • 1946 Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role (To Each His Own) Won[72]
  • 1948 National Board of Review Award for Best Actress (The Snake Pit) Won[73]
  • 1948 New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress (The Snake Pit) Won[73]
  • 1948 Academy Award Nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role (The Snake Pit)[72]
  • 1949 Venice Film Festival Volpi Cup for Best Actress (The Snake Pit) Won[73]
  • 1949 New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress (The Heiress) Won[73]
  • 1949 Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role (The Heiress) Won[72]
  • 1949 Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture Actress (The Heiress) Won[73]
  • 1950 Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists Silver Ribbon for Best Foreign Actress (The Snake Pit) Won
  • 1952 Hand print and footprint ceremony at Grauman's Chinese Theatre (December 17, 1952)[74]
  • 1953 Golden Globe Award Nomination for Best Motion Picture Actress, Drama (My Cousin Rachel)
  • 1960 Star on the Walk of Fame for Motion Picture at 6762 Hollywood Blvd (February 8, 1960)[71]
  • 1986 Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna) Won[72]
  • 1986 Primetime Emmy Award Nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries (Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna)[72]
  • 1998 Honorary Doctorate from the University of Hertfordshire[75]
  • 2008 National Medal of Arts, presented by the President of the United States[62]
  • 2010 Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur, awarded by the President of the French Republic[67]
  • 2016 Oldie of the Year, awarded by The Oldie magazine[70]


In 1960, de Havilland published her first memoir, Every Frenchman Has One. According to John Lichfield, she was working on an autobiography and had hoped to have a first draft by September 2009.[76]



Year Title Role Notes Ref
1935 Alibi Ike Dolly Stevens [77]
Irish in Us, TheThe Irish in Us Lucille Jackson [78]
Midsummer Night's Dream, AA Midsummer Night's Dream Hermia, in Love with Lysander Credited as Olivia de Haviland (film debut)[19] [79]
Captain Blood Arabella Bishop [80]
1936 Anthony Adverse Angela Giuseppe [81]
Charge of the Light Brigade, TheThe Charge of the Light Brigade Elsa Campbell Credited as Olivia De Havilland [82]
1937 Call It a Day Catherine 'Cath' Hilton [83]
It's Love I'm After Marcia West [84]
Great Garrick, TheThe Great Garrick Germaine de la Corbe [85]
1938 Gold Is Where You Find It Serena 'Sprat' Ferris [86]
Adventures of Robin Hood, TheThe Adventures of Robin Hood Lady Marian Fitzwalter [87]
Four's a Crowd Lorri Dillingwell [88]
Hard to Get Margaret Richards Credited as Olivia De Havilland [89]
1939 Wings of the Navy Irene Dale [90]
Dodge City Abbie Irving [91]
Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, TheThe Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex Lady Penelope Gray [92]
Gone with the Wind Melanie Hamilton Wilkes Nominated — Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress [93]
Raffles Gwen Manders [26]
1940 My Love Came Back Amelia Cornell [94]
Santa Fe Trail Kit Carson Holliday [95]
1941 Strawberry Blonde, TheThe Strawberry Blonde Amy Lind Grimes [96]
Hold Back the Dawn Emmy Brown New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress (2nd place)
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress
They Died with Their Boots On Elizabeth Bacon Custer [98]
1942 Male Animal, TheThe Male Animal Ellen Turner [99]
In This Our Life Roy Timberlake [100]
1943 Thank Your Lucky Stars Herself [101]
Princess O'Rourke Princess Maria – aka Mary Williams Credited as Olivia DeHavilland [102]
1943 Government Girl Elizabeth 'Smokey' Allard [103]
1946 To Each His Own Miss Josephine 'Jody' Norris Won - Academy Award for Best Actress
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress (2nd place)
Devotion Charlotte Brontë [105]
Well-Groomed Bride, TheThe Well-Groomed Bride Margie Dawson [106]
Dark Mirror, TheThe Dark Mirror Terry Collins / Ruth Collins [107]
1948 Snake Pit, TheThe Snake Pit Virginia Stuart Cunningham [108]
1949 Heiress, TheThe Heiress Catherine Sloper [109]
1952 My Cousin Rachel Rachel Sangalletti Ashley Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama [110]
1955 That Lady Ana de Mendoza [111]
Not as a Stranger Kristina Hedvigson [112]
1956 The Ambassador's Daughter Joan Fisk [113]
1958 Proud Rebel, TheThe Proud Rebel Linnett Moore [114]
1959 Libel Lady Margaret Loddon [115]
1962 Light in the Piazza Meg Johnson [116]
1964 Lady in a Cage Mrs. Cornelia Hilyard [117]
Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte Miriam Deering Credited as Olivia deHavilland [118]
1970 Adventurers, TheThe Adventurers Deborah Hadley Credited as Olivia De Havilland [119]
1972 Pope Joan Mother Superior [120]
1977 Airport '77 Emily Livingston [121]
1978 Swarm, TheThe Swarm Maureen Schuster Credited as Olivia De Havilland [122]
1979 Fifth Musketeer, TheThe Fifth Musketeer Queen (Mary) Mother [123]
2009 I Remember Better When I Paint Narrator [64]

Short subjects[edit]

Year Title Role Notes Ref
1935 Dream Comes True, AA Dream Comes True Herself (uncredited) About the making of A Midsummer Night's Dream [124]
1936 Making of a Great Motion Picture, TheThe Making of a Great Motion Picture Herself (uncredited) About the making of Anthony Adverse [124]
1937 Day at Santa Anita, AA Day at Santa Anita Herself (uncredited) Stars attended a horse race at the famed racetrack [124]
1937 Screen Snapshots Series 16, No. 10 Herself Stars and their pets attend a swim meet
1943 Show Business at War Herself Newsreel about progress of the Hollywood war effort

Television work[edit]

Year Title Role Notes Ref
1966 Noon Wine Ellie Thompson ABC Stage 67 [125]
1972 The Screaming Woman Laura Wynant [124]
1979 Roots: The Next Generations Mrs. Warner Miniseries [124]
1981 The Love Boat Aunt Hilly Season 4, episode 23 [126]
1982 Murder Is Easy Honoria Waynflete Credited as Olivia De Havilland [124]
1982 Royal Romance of Charles and Diana, TheThe Royal Romance of Charles and Diana Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother [124]
1986 North and South II Mrs. Neal Miniseries [124]
1986 Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna Dowager Empress Maria [124]
1988 The Woman He Loved Aunt Bessie [124]

Stage appearances[edit]

Year Title Role Notes Ref
1934 A Midsummer Night's Dream Hermia Hollywood Bowl, CA, stage debut [126]
1946 What Every Woman Knows Maggie Wylie Westport, CT, Easthampton, NY [126]
1951 Romeo and Juliet Juliet Broadhurst Theatre, Broadway debut [126]
1952 Candida Candida National Theatre, NYC [126]
1962 A Gift of Time Lael Tucker Wertenbaker Ethel Barrymore Theatre, NYC [126]

Radio appearances[edit]

Year Program Episode/source Ref
1937 Lux Radio Theatre Captain Blood [127]
1946 Academy Award Cheers for Miss Bishop [128]



  1. ^ Olivia was named after the character in Twelfth Night.
  2. ^ An acting award at Los Gatos is named after Olivia de Havilland.
  3. ^ Initially, de Havilland refused to take the part of Princess Maria in Princess O'Rourke and, subsequently, was suspended by Jack Warner.[28]


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  2. ^ a b c Thomas 1983, p. 20.
  3. ^ "Olivia Mary de Havilland". The Peerage. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  4. ^ Fontaine 1978, pp. 16–17.
  5. ^ Fontaine 1978, pp. 12–13.
  6. ^ French, Philip (2009). "Screen Legends No.73". The Observer. 
  7. ^ Fontaine 1978, p. 13.
  8. ^ Beeman 1994, p. 24.
  9. ^ a b c Fontaine 1978, p. 16.
  10. ^ a b c Thomas 1983, p. 22.
  11. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 23.
  12. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 24.
  13. ^ Cornwell, Rupert (May 15, 2008). "Sibling rivalry: Hollywood's oldest feud". The Independent. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  14. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 25.
  15. ^ "Olivia de Havilland Biography". Olivia de Havilland. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  16. ^ a b c d Thomas 1983, p. 26.
  17. ^ a b c Thomas 1983, p. 27.
  18. ^ a b c Thomas 1983, p. 28.
  19. ^ a b Brown 1995, p. 125.
  20. ^ Wallis and Higham 1990, p. 86.
  21. ^ a b Thomas 1983, p. 29.
  22. ^ a b c Thomas 1983, p. 30.
  23. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 32.
  24. ^ "Results 1939 (12th) Academy Awards". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  25. ^ a b c Thomas 1983, p. 33.
  26. ^ a b Thomas 1983, p. 153.
  27. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 34.
  28. ^ Freeland 1983, p. 172.
  29. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 35.
  30. ^ a b c Thomas 1983, p. 36.
  31. ^ Shinn, J. (December 8, 1944). "De Haviland v. Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc. 67 Cal. App. 2d 225, 153 P.2d 983". Google Scholar (California: California Court of Appeals. Second Dist., Div. Three). Retrieved January 29, 2015. 
  32. ^ Belloni, Matthew (August 23, 2007). "De Havilland lawsuit resonates through Hollywood". Reuters. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  33. ^ Shipman 1970, p. 153.
  34. ^ Shipman 1970, p. 151.
  35. ^ French, Philip (October 31, 2009). "Philip French's screen legends No. 73: Olivia de Havilland". The Guardian. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  36. ^ "Olivia de Havilland a Citizen". The New York Times. November 29, 1941. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  37. ^ "Olivia de Havilland Fast Facts". CNN. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  38. ^ a b c d e f Meroney, John (September 7, 2006). "Olivia de Havilland is Setting the Record Straight". The Wall Street Journal. 
  39. ^ Billingsley 1998, pp. 123–124.
  40. ^ Gottfried 2002, p. 146.
  41. ^ "Streetcar wins film critics nod ...". The New York Times. December 28, 1951. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  42. ^ Andrews, Emily (June 17, 2009). "Errol Flynn? He never had his wicked way with me". Daily Mail. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  43. ^ "Olivia de Havilland". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  44. ^ a b Fishgall 1997, pp. 137–139.
  45. ^ Fishgall 1997, p. 148.
  46. ^ "El orgullo de la seducción: Emilio Fernández". Wikimexico. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  47. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 38.
  48. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 40.
  49. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 41.
  50. ^ Honan, William H. (October 22, 1991). "Marcus Aurelius Goodrich, 93, Writer Known for Naval Stories". The New York Times. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  51. ^ "Olivia de Havilland: Biography". Reel Classics. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  52. ^ a b c d Thomas 1983, p. 42.
  53. ^ Eyre, Hermione (March 19, 2010). "Hollywood's sweetheart: Olivia de Havilland". London Evening Standard. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  54. ^ "Centennial Tribute to Bette Davis". The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  55. ^ a b c Higham 1984, p. 257.
  56. ^ Fontaine, Joan (1978). No Bed of Roses: An Autobiography. New York: William Morrow and Company. p. 136. ISBN 978-0-68803-344-6. 
  57. ^ Galella, Ron (September 9, 1967). "Marlene Dietrich's Opening Party". Getty Images. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  58. ^ Feinberg, Scott (December 17, 2013). "Joan Fontaine-Olivia de Havilland Feud: New Details Revealed". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  59. ^ "Feuding sisters - Joan Fontaine & Olivia de Havilland". CBC. 1979. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  60. ^ Bernstein, Adam (December 15, 2013). "Joan Fontaine, Academy Award-winning actress from the 1940s, dies at 96". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  61. ^ Djansezian, Kevork (December 16, 2013). "Olivia de Havilland "shocked and saddened" by sister Joan Fontaine's death". CBS News. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  62. ^ a b "President and Mrs. Bush Attend Presentation of the 2008 National Medals of Arts". The White House Archives. November 17, 2008. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  63. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (November 18, 2008). "Arts Medals Awarded". The New York Times. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  64. ^ a b "Documentary Screening: 'I Remember Better When I Paint'". New York Daily News. October 28, 2009. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  65. ^ "Washington Social Diary". New York Social Diary. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  66. ^ Kniffel, Leonard (March 23, 2011). "Film Legend Makes Memories at American Library in Paris". American Libraries. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  67. ^ a b Corbet, Sylvie (September 9, 2010). "Olivia de Havilland honored by French president". Associated Press. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  68. ^ "Jodie Foster Interview Coulisses après les Cesars 2011". YouTube. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  69. ^ Schwartz, Missy (January 29, 2015). "The Last Star: An evening with Olivia de Havilland". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  70. ^ a b "Olivia de Havilland wins Oldie accolade". BBC News. February 2, 2016. Retrieved February 3, 2016. 
  71. ^ a b "Olivia de Havilland". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved January 23, 2016. 
  72. ^ a b c d e f g "Olivia de Havilland: Milestones". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved January 23, 2016. 
  73. ^ a b c d e "Olivia de Havilland: Awards". AllMovie. Retrieved January 23, 2016. 
  74. ^ "Olivia de Havilland at Grauman's Theater". Associated Press. Retrieved January 24, 2016. 
  75. ^ "Olivia de Havilland: Notes". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved January 23, 2016. 
  76. ^ "Golden girl: The divine Olivia de Havilland". Independent. July 13, 2009. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  77. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 59.
  78. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 63.
  79. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 53.
  80. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 67.
  81. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 75.
  82. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 81.
  83. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 89.
  84. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 99.
  85. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 93.
  86. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 103.
  87. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 109.
  88. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 117.
  89. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 121.
  90. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 127.
  91. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 131.
  92. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 147.
  93. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 137.
  94. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 157.
  95. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 161.
  96. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 167.
  97. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 173.
  98. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 181.
  99. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 189.
  100. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 193.
  101. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 197.
  102. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 199.
  103. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 202.
  104. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 209.
  105. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 206.
  106. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 204.
  107. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 212.
  108. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 214.
  109. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 219.
  110. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 222.
  111. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 225.
  112. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 227.
  113. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 229.
  114. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 231.
  115. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 233.
  116. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 235.
  117. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 237.
  118. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 239.
  119. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 242.
  120. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 245.
  121. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 247.
  122. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 253.
  123. ^ Thomas 1983, p. 250.
  124. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Olivia de Havilland: Filmography". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved January 22, 2016. 
  125. ^ "Olivia de Havilland". British Film Institute. Retrieved January 23, 2016. 
  126. ^ a b c d e f "Olivia de Havilland". Film Reference. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  127. ^ "Those Were the Days". Nostalgia Digest 39 (2): 32–39. Spring 2013. 
  128. ^ "Academy Star". Harrisburg Telegraph. November 2, 1946. p. 19. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 


  • Beeman, Marsha Lynn (1994). Joan Fontaine: A Bio-Bibliography. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-31328-409-0. 
  • Billingsley, Lloyd (1998). Hollywood Party: How Communism Seduced the American Film Industry in the 1930s and 1940s. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Press. ISBN 978-0-7615-1376-6. 
  • Brown, Gene (1995). Movie Time: A Chronology of Hollywood and the Movie Industry from Its Beginnings to the Present. New York: Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-02860-429-9. 
  • De Havilland, Olivia (1962). Every Frenchman Has One. New York: Random House. ASIN B000WVH9GK. 
  • Fishgall, James (1997). Pieces of Time: The Life of James Stewart. New York: Scribners. ISBN 978-0-68482-454-3. 
  • Fontaine, Joan (1978). No Bed of Roses. New York: Morrow. ISBN 978-0-68803-344-6. 
  • Freedland, Michael (1983). The Warner Brothers. Edinburgh: Chambers. ISBN 978-0-24553-827-8. 
  • Gottfried, Martin (2002). Nobody's Fool: The Lives of Danny Kaye. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-74324-476-3. 
  • Higham, Charles (1984). Sisters: The Story of Olivia De Haviland and Joan Fontaine. New York: Coward McCann. ISBN 978-0-69811-268-1. 
  • Kass, Judith M. (1976). Olivia De Haviland. New York: Pyramid Publications. ISBN 978-0-51504-175-0. 
  • Lamparski, Richard. Manhattan Diary. New York: BearManor Media. ISBN 978-1-59393-054-7. 
  • Shipman, David (1970). The Great Movie Stars, The Golden Years. New york: Bonanza Books. ISBN 978-0-31678-487-0. 
  • Thomas, Tony (1983). The Films of Olivia de Havilland. New York: Citadel Press. ISBN 978-0-80650-988-4. 
  • Wallis, Hal B.; Higham, Charles (1980). Starmaker: The Autobiography of Hal Wallis. London: MacMillan Publishers. ISBN 978-0-02623-170-1. 

External links[edit]